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5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

5 Practical Tips to Promote a Nutritional Mindset for the Whole Family

Cooking can be a very daunting task, especially when faced with countless pans, utensils, and devices you’ve never heard of, as well as advanced cooking phrases and jargon. There are some who left all the cooking to their mothers or fathers, and never learned how to do it on their own. Others are born with the talent and taste, but are too lazy to develop their skills.

Then there are those who are intimidated when they see one single unknown ingredient, which leads them to throw in the towel when it comes to cooking and leave the rest up to the chefs and cooking masters to feed them decently healthy foods every weekend. This kind of habit can literally break the bank! We are living in an era of fast food and quick microwavable meals, so why bother learning to cook?

Our body needs certain nutrients in order to function properly. Yes, nutrients come from food, but that doesn’t mean you can just eat whatever you want. Countless studies, privately or publicly posted, have proved that eating to your heart’s desire, especially microwavable and fast foods, is a huge health risk. Obesity rates are skyrocketing every single year.

Imagine: three out of 10 children ages four to 19 are gaining an extra 6 pounds a year! The regular intake of quickie foods is the main culprit, and apparently, it ups the chances of getting other serious conditions such as diabetes, depression, and heart attacks — these are conditions you want to prevent your loved ones from developing.

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Fortunately enough, we’re also living in an era of agricultural mastery and nutritional science. It’s easy to take the quick route and throw a TV dinner in the microwave, but making a nutritious meal may actually be a lot easier than some of us think. So here are five easy tips to help keep the whole family healthy without spending all day in the kitchen or breaking the bank.

1. Take a second look at the costs of healthier options.

One common misconception is that eating healthy is just too expensive. We look at the bell peppers in the produce aisle and see frozen, pre-cooked, fatty meals two isles away at a better bargain. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be as expensive as it seems.

For example, a stir fry consisting of brown rice, frozen veggies and the sauce of your choice can feed a person for as little as 30 cents a meal. Black bean burritos with lettuce are inexpensive as well. Making your own from scratch (aside from the tortillas themselves) takes no longer than 10 minutes and can feed a family of five for $3.

Both of these meal ideas give ample protein and veggie intake in just one meal and cost next to nothing. There are other cheap, healthy meal ideas to be found all over the web. These are just a start.

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2. Cooking doesn’t have to take all day.

Another misconception about eating healthy is that we just don’t have the time to make healthy meals in our busy lives. Just like the meal ideas in the above tip, cooking doesn’t have to be a big chore.

A breakfast burrito consisting of a scrambled eggs fried together with a handful of spinach and black beans tossed in a tortilla takes as little as five minutes. For those who aren’t fond of yolk, the same recipe can be made by only using egg whites and adding an extra egg.

There are tons of healthy meals that take only minutes to make. Beans of any sort, spinach, potatoes, eggs, frozen veggies and low-fat yogurt are among the many staples of those with busy lives who appreciate a quick homemade meal. Get creative!

3. Foods aren’t better from a can.

You may have noticed I’m a pretty big fan of frozen veggies, the reason being that fresh veggies can be hard on the wallet, while canned veggies can be hard on the body. Simply put, canned veggies are not our friends. While still retaining some of their nutrients, the canning process has been known to take away from their overall nutritional value. It also can’t hurt to stay away from pumping our bodies full of preservatives.

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Frozen veggies have the nutritional value of fresh veggies without the steep price. This goes for most everything, not just veggies. When buying meat, the frozen variety is always a good choice. While still healthy, you’ll rarely find yourself throwing away rotten meat or eating preservatives from a can.

4. Calories aren’t all bad.

Calories have gotten a pretty bad rap today. Yeah, we all go gaga about “protein shakes are healthier” or “gm diet plan works better than intermittent fasting” while ignoring the fact that our bodies simply need calories to function. There is definitely such thing as too little calories. You can’t be healthy and underfed; it just doesn’t work. Everyone’s recommended calorie intake is different and varies based on weight, age, gender, and activity level.

calorie-intake

    Luckily, anyone with a computer and internet connection has access to a variety of different calorie calculators on the web. Sites like Calorie Counter and Calorie King make it easy to know just how many we should be eating. For those trying to lose or put on weight, these calorie calculators as well as other high-tech fitness trackers are motivational and perfect for helping reach your weight goals.

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    5. Trick your brain.

    A somewhat well-known method of making yourself feel fuller faster is to drink water both before and during a meal. This stops us from overeating as our brains often confuse hunger and thirst. However, according to a recent study, this isn’t the only way to keep from overeating.

    Recent research shows that eating more flavorful food tricks our brains into thinking we’ve eaten more than we really have. However, this doesn’t mean we should douse everything we eat in salt. There are many non-sodium-based spices that can add more flavor to our food without adding any unhealthy ingredients. Making use of these can make sure everyone in the family eats the right amount of food in each sitting.

    And that’s it! Many people underestimate how important the food we eat really is. Putting these tips into place can change your family’s eating habits for the better and even change your child’s future tremendously. While there are more things to learn, these tips should act as a great starting point for anyone looking to make significant healthy changes to their life.

    Featured photo credit: FamVeld via shutterstock.com

    More by this author

    Junie Rutkevich

    Lifestyle writer and author of "Healthy Eating Habits: A Get-Healthy Guide To Tweak And Balance Your Daily Diet"

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    Last Updated on September 15, 2020

    4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

    4 Ways to Deal With Big Life Changes in a Positive Way

    Life changes are constant. Whether it’s in the workplace or our relationships, nothing in life ever remains the same for long.

    Regardless of the gravity of change, it can always be a little scary. So scary, in fact, that some people are downright crippled by the idea of it, causing them to remain stagnant through anxiety.

    Have you ever noticed how much of life’s transitional periods are riddled with anxious vibes? The quarter life crisis, the mid-life crisis, cold feet before getting married, retirement anxiety, and teenage angst are just a few examples of transitional periods when people tend to panic.

    We can’t control every aspect of our lives, and we can’t stop change from happening. However, how we respond to change will greatly affect our overall life experience.

    Here are 4 ways you can approach life changes in a positive way.

    1. Don’t Fight It

    I once heard one of my favorite yoga instructors say “Suffering is what occurs when we resist what is already happening.” The lesson has stuck with me ever since.

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    Life changes are usually out of our control. Rather than trying to manipulate the situation and wishing things were different, try flowing with it instead.

    Of course, some initial resistance is natural if we’re going into survival mode. Just make sure you are conscious of when this resistance is no longer serving you.

    If you’re feeling anxious about impending life changes, it’s time to practice some techniques to address the anxiety directly. These can include meditation, exercise, talking with friends about how you’re feeling, or journaling.

    If you’re worried about a big life change, such as starting a new job[1] or moving in with your partner, do your best to control your expectations. It may help you to talk with people you know about their experiences going through similar changes. This will help you form a realistic picture in your mind of what things will look like post-change.

    2. Find Healthy Ways to Deal With Feelings

    Whenever we’re in transitional periods, it can be easy to lose track of ourselves. Sometimes we feel like we’re being tossed about by life and like we’ve lost our footing, causing some very uncomfortable feelings to arise.

    One way we can channel these feelings is by finding healthy ways to release them. For instance, whenever I find myself in a difficult transitional phase, I end up in a mixed martial arts studio.

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    The physical activity helps me channel my emotions and release endorphins. It also helps me get in shape, which generally increases my mood and energy levels.

    Exercise is important in cultivating positive emotions, but if you’re struggling with anxiety in particular, it’s important to cultivate a regular exercise routine as opposed to a one-off workout. One study found that “Aerobic exercise can promote increase in anxiety acutely and regular aerobic exercise promotes reduction in anxiety levels”[2].

    If exercise isn’t your thing, there are other, less intense ways of cultivating positive emotions and reducing anxiety around life changes. You can try stretching, meditating, reading in nature, spending time with family and friends, or cooking a healthy meal.

    Find what makes you feel good and helps you ground yourself in the present moment.

    3. Reframe Your Perspective

    Reframing perspectives is a very powerful tool used in life coaching. It helps clients take a situation they are struggling with, such as a major life change, and find some sort of empowerment in it.

    Some examples of disempowered thinking during life changes include casting blame, focusing on negative details, or victimizing[3]. These perspectives can make awkward transitional phases much worse than they have to be.

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    Meanwhile, if we utilize a more positive perspective, such as finding a lesson in the situation, realizing that there may be an opportunity for something, or that everything passes, we can come from a greater place of ease.

    4. Find Time for Self-Reflection

    Having time to reflect is important at any stage in your life, but it’s especially important during transitional periods. It’s quite simple really: we need our time to step back and get centered when things get a little crazy.

    As a result, big life changes are perfect for doing some self-reflection. They are opportunities to check in with ourselves and practice getting grounded for a few minutes.

    Take a look at this reflective cycle adapted from Glibb’s Self-reflection guide (1988):[4]

    Use self-reflection when facing life changes.

      Self-reflective exercises include meditating, yoga or journaling,[5] all of which require some quiet time to get yourself together.

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      One study found that journal improves “self-efficacy, locus of control, and learning”[6]. A healthy sense of self-control can make the process of change easier to bear, so that in itself is a great reason to try self-reflection through journaling.

      To learn how to start journaling, you can check out this article.

      Final Thoughts

      Big life changes may rock us for a little while, but they don’t have to be as bad as we initially perceive them. If handled in a positive manner, transitional periods can pave the way for some serious self-growth, reflection, and awareness.

      Cultivate a sense of positivity and find ways to diminish the anxiety around life changes. Once you make it to the other side, you’ll be grateful that you made it through in the best way possible.

      More Tips on Facing Life Changes

      Featured photo credit: Alora Griffiths via unsplash.com

      Reference

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